Pericytes: Cell Biology and PathologyAllt G. · Lawrenson J.G.
aReta Lila Weston Institute of Neurological Studies, University College London Medical School and bApplied Vision Research Centre, Department of Optometry and Visual Science, City University, London, UK
Pericytes are perivascular cells with multifunctional activities which are now being elucidated. The functional interaction of pericytes with endothelial cells (EC) is now being established, using current molecular and cytochemical techniques. The detailed morphology of the pericyte has been well described. Pericytes extend long cytoplasmic processes over the surface of the EC, the two cells making interdigitating contacts. At points of contact, communicating gap junctions, tight junctions and adhesion plaques are present. Pericytes appear to show both structural and functional heterogeneity. The coverage of EC by pericytes varies considerably between different microvessel types and the location of pericytes on the microvessel is not random but appears to be functionally determined. Interaction between pericytes and EC is important for the maturation, remodelling and maintenance of the vascular system via the secretion of growth factors or modulation of the extracellular matrix. There is also evidence that pericytes are involved in the transport across the blood-brain barrier and the regulation of vascular permeability. The long-standing view that pericytes are the microvessel equivalent of larger vessel smooth muscle cells and are contractile is being reassessed using current methods. An important role for pericytes in pathology, and neuropathology in particular, has been indicated in hypertension, diabetic retinopathy, Alzheimer’s disease, multiple sclerosis and CNS tumour formation.
Dr. J.G. Lawrenson
Department of Optometry and Visual Science
City University, Northampton Square
London, EC1V 0HB (UK)
Tel. +44 171 477 8000, Fax +44 171 477 8355, E-Mail J.G.Lawrenson@city.ac.uk
Accepted after revision: August 16, 2000
Number of Print Pages : 11
Number of Figures : 2, Number of Tables : 0, Number of References : 105
Cells Tissues Organs (in vivo, in vitro)
Founded 1945 as Acta Anatomica
Vol. 169, No. 1, Year 2001 (Cover Date: 2001)Formerly Acta Anatomica
Journal Editor: H.-W. Denker, Essen; A.W. English, Atlanta, Ga.
ISSN: 1422–6405 (print), 1422–6421 (Online)
For additional information: http://www.karger.com/journals/cto